Between the massive jumbotron and the sheer size of the facility, the Cowboys Stadium experience can be an overwhelming one. However, the opportunity to hold this week's practice in the venue the Sooners will play in Friday night has helped them become comfortable with the surroundings.
"It definitely has an advantage just to get used to that environment," senior wide receiver Justin Brown said. "With everything that's going on in that stadium, it's going to be huge. At the end of the day, you have to play football. You can't get distracted with the jumbotron, the seats or anything else that stadium provides. I think as players we have to keep in mind that it's just another game and every football field is the same."
This is the first time since the 2003 Sugar Bowl that the Sooners have held practice at the actual bowl game stadium. But once the AT&T Cotton Bowl kicks off Friday, the Sooners will have plenty of experience blocking out all of the tremendous amenities Cowboys Stadium has to offer.
"We've played there before and we're practicing there all week," junior center Gabe Ikard said. "We might have sore necks from looking up at that screen. It's one of those things where it's an amazing stadium but once the game starts you kind of forget everything (else)."
Sooners Share Smiles
The Sooners visited the Children's Medical Center in Dallas on Wednesday afternoon to visit with ailing kids. While the OU student-athletes brought many smiles to their faces, the children did just the same for the Sooners.
"It's fun," sophomore Blake Bell said. "Getting out here, hanging out with the kids, getting our mind off the game, giving back and seeing all the guys smile and all the kids. It's awesome."
The visit was yet another part of an eventful week leading up to Friday's Cotton Bowl, and it may have been the most rewarding.
"Everyone thinks you just go to a bowl game to play the game, but getting to do something like this is a really great experience," Ikard said. "Coach Stoops is always emphasizing doing stuff outside of football in the community and community service. We're happy to come and brighten some days."
Texas A&M has a new conference, new uniforms and a new Heisman-winning quarterback. But this is still Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M in the AT&T Cotton Bowl and the Sooners are
11-2 (.846) against the Aggies under Coach Stoops.
Ask any Sooner fan the most memorable OU-A&M game in the Stoops' era and many would point to the 2000 game in College Station as OU marched to its seventh national championship. Ask any Sooner fan the most memorable play from that 35-31 win and most would bring up this interception:
The quarterback for the Sooners in that win back in 2000? Josh Heupel, the current offensive coordinator for the Sooners. How does Heupel remember that game in College Station?
“When people ask you about it, when you think about A&M occasionally, you think about it. We’ve been in a bunch of big ball games here, but that was a huge road contest. Hostile environment. There was a lot of build-up to it because they were a really good program at that time. Still are, obviously."
Junior DB Tony Jefferson "I can just remember freshman year being here and the fans being loud, just looking up at the jumbotron thinking 'If we punt, are going to hit that or what?' It's an amazing atmosphere and I can't wait to play in it."
Senior OL Lane Johnson "I'm looking forward to this game, playing a highly-ranked team against A&M and a superb defensive line. It's something to look forward to and we're getting ready for it now."
Senior DB Demontre Hurst "It's a great experience to see kids in need and go show our happy faces to them. It lightens up their day. It's a great feeling. A lot of people don't get a chance to do this."
Head Coach Bob Stoops "It's just always fun being at the Children's Hospital. It's not fun to see them in this situation but to hopefully make them laugh, take their mind off of their troubles and hurts and spend some time with them. Players enjoyed it and hopefully so did the kids."
Junior DB Aaron Colvin “(The familiarity) is a good thing because you know what they like to do. We know what to expect when we go out there. We know the great players they have and who they are. Being able to play them the past few years, it will be good to see them again this week.”
Senior DE David King “(The offense has) been good all year. Landry (Jones) does a good job of leading those guys. I’m comfortable in them and what they can do. We see them every day; we know what they can bring."
Junior LB Tom Wort “I think our offensive line has been great at adapting to who they go against. They’re not the biggest or the most intimidating guys, but they have a way of flowing together and making the plays. They are fast flowing for an O-Line and I think that is an advantage they have over others.”
Senior WR Justin Brown “I definitely want to go out and prepare as I have always prepared. As far as a senior, I can’t put too much pressure on this being the last game. I still must focus on the task at hand. I think you have to do what you’ve always done for every game." BOWL CENTRAL
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